Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Thought 401: Popularity as Measure of Quality?

These days popularity is generally interpreted as a measure of quality. 

This view assumes that the masses who make things popular have good taste, moral discernment and a wide knowledge of the areas in which they are interested in or entertained by.

That this is in fact the case is most doubtful.  

It could also be argued that popularity comes with mass exposure however much that mass exposure is undeserved and unrelated to the presence or not of quality.

For example McDonald's remains a popular 'food' joint but, while they may enjoy their products, most of its customers know it to be poor quality food, at least nutritionally. 

Moreover quality is not always what is desired. Witness the many individuals who watch TV programmes they know to be of poor quality but nonetheless entertain them and bring them pleasure and some form or release from the pressures of life. 

The desire for quality in art, food, music, literature, information, even entertainment is possibly an acquired drive, rather than a default one, requiring skills of discernment, self-knowledge, active research and mindfulness that are won through effort rather than being innate.   

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Thought 400: God as Symbol

The word God can usefully be seen as a symbol for the beginning of time, the so-called uncaused cause as Manly P. Hall put it in his book Lectures on Ancient Philosophy, or indeed the uncreated being as Heidegger put it, as well as the conscious creative intelligence of the cosmos and its laws.

The same can be said of God's great adversary, Satan. Lucifer too can be seen as a symbol, either as a well-meaning promethean light bearer (from the Latin lux ferre, to bring light) defying God's (or the gods') tyranny or as an ill-intentioned inverter of God's truth expressed as it is in Natural Law and Morality. 

Lucifer's true status, whether he be a friend or a foe of mankind, seems ambiguous to me - perhaps his role is to awake men from their slumber and slavery through the art of thinking - but I have no doubt that practicing self-titled Luciferians and Satanists are for their part fiendish foes of mankind's moral and spiritual enlightenments. 

Monday, 28 November 2016

Thought 399: Freedom in Peril: World War 2 Poster

"Freedom is in peril. Defend it with all your might."
The content of this World War 2 British poster may be commended, even though the irony of it emanating from the enslaver that is Her Majesty's Government is not lost on me. I agree that freedom is in peril and must be defended, with force if necessary. But this includes defending freedom against governmental coercion. 

However many people, myself included, seem perfectly content to comply heart and soul with an immoral system. Even if not in thought and emotion, then in deed. For compliance is (political) action, however passive in intent. For
"politics is not like the nursery. In politics, obedience and support are the same." (Hannah Arendt)
In addition the word freedom has been used time and again precisely to enslave which is typical of the inversion techniques of the sorcerers that are social controllers who systematically and daily turn truth on its head. 

For Satan is the inverter of God's truth, both 'God' and 'Satan" understood in this case conceptually and symbolically, not religiously. 

(See post Black Magic as Inversion for more elaboration on these last points). 

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Thought 398: Poor Man's Philosophy

At the risk of sounding elitist and classist, I will say that getting stupid drunk and using mind altering substances for recreational purposes rather than for purposes of self-exporation and self-knowledge is the poor man's way to philosophise. 

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Thought 397: No Money in Philosophy

Although there's no money in philosophy, there's plenty of mon-eye (spiritual vision) to be gained from it. 

People who think monetarily will interpret the fact that no money can be effectively made from philosophy as a sign that it is of no great use or social benefit and therefore an activity of pure self-indulgence bringing no (monetary) value to the world. 

While philosophising can be self-indulgent I do not regard self-indulgence as a bad thing (rather the opposite) because, for one, I no longer identify with puritanical tables of evaluation where life is only worthy if always working, striving and seeking to prove itself in conventional terms.

Moreover, the fact no money is to be made from philosophising, despite the difficulties this of course creates for survival in our monetary system, is symptomatic for me of philosophy being too good for money and above monetary valuations and considerations. 

I would indeed be most suspicious of not to say surprised at a philosopher who charges money for his insights, especially if these insights are to do with truth and morality rather than how to be more successful or popular. 

For truth and morality are not popular priorities for the majority and this majority will rather spend its money, not on hard-won wisdom, but on lies that make them feel better and help them achieve greater worldly success and egoic power. 

This was indeed the operative difference, according to Plato's works, between Socrates, the philosopher who charged nothing for his services to wisdom, midwife as he was to souls pregnant with truth, and the much sought-after sophists (i.e. experts) of his time who charged money for their knowledge to ambitious young men seeking to make a name for themselves in public affairs. 

Plus ça change as they say. 

Heidegger, himself a paid university professor who had to make many an academic sacrifice before becoming free to write what he wanted, was aware of the absence of financial reward for philosophising when he said
"it is entirely correct to say you can't 'do' anything with philosophy. The problem is that this is seen as the final say on the matter. For a counter question arises in the shape of what philosophy can do with us."
In addition, the vast majority, not being deep thinkers, perhaps finding thinking unpleasant and therefore never becoming adept at philosophical fine tuning, see little value in philosophising and its lack of worldly rewards but I am one hundred percent with Heidegger when he wrote in Thinker as Poet
"That a thinking is, ever and suddenly -
whose amazement could fathom it?" (my italics)
Thinking can indeed smack of magic when it influences change to occur with Higher Will (Natural Law) and gives heartfelt energy to others. Not only that but deep thinking - as opposed to superficial blinking - is rare and therefore, being rare, precious. Never feel you are not good enough to think philosophically because you would be surprised at how few actually do so, whether out of cowardice or a lack of imagination.

And it could be legitimately asked whether what Heidegger calls 'prevailing man' has done too much and thought too little, leading to the disjunctive and tortured world we currently live in.  

Friday, 25 November 2016

Thought 396: Chubby Women

As a heterosexual man, I am partial to fuller-figured women and am often bemused by how so many women view their natural plumpness and roundness as an unattractive feature. 

There are of course many reasons for this, many men liking thinner body types and fat is often associated with unhealthiness (although being overly skinny can be just as symptomatic of poor physical health) but in my opinion this phenomenon is much more due to current, practically anorexic ideals of beauty in the entertainment and fashion worlds as well as women's own sexual preferences regarding men. 

Indeed it might well be the case that many women preferring leaner, more muscular men they think they would be more attractive if themselves leaner and more toned. 

Yet in my opinion what suits men does not suit women and I do associate the features of plumpness and roundness with increased femininity and female attractiveness as did so many artists of days past - witness the classic and ancient example of the Venus of Willendorf.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Thought 395: Large Souls Squander Themselves

It is to German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who knew a thing or two about these things, that we owe the sublime insight according to which it is in the nature of large, great souls to squander themselves in their care for others and the world. 

Great souls squander themselves because unlike the hoards of shrunken and tiny souls in the world, as evidenced by so much commentary in the mainstream media, their concern is not what Nietzsche called petty prudence and egoic self-service but higher ideals of truth, morality, beauty, people's welfare, sharing and so on. 

Great souls thus need be careful who they give themselves over to and perhaps it is a good idea for them to use their magnanimity (large soul-ness) in artistic and philosophical work rather than humanitarian ideals because this could bring them to ruin, the majority of people constituting 'crooked timber' as Immanuel Kant so fantastically put it. 

In other words large souls need to learn to put themselves first, however much this might offend their generous and altruistic sensibility, and use their large soul-ness to their own advantage and fulfilment through allowing it to express itself in works, words and deeds without falling into disrepair through over extension and self-squandering. 

For unfortunately some if not many people will take advantage of and exploit those who are generous of spirit for their own selfish gain and as I've written before good hearts can be most naive and blind as to the wicked and base motivations of the heartless, not themselves being of a wicked or base disposition. 

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Thought 394: What You Care About Can Destroy You

I have often extolled the importance of care along with contemporary thinker Mark Passio but it is unfortunately the case, life being the bitch that she can be (see Life as Bitch Teacher), that what you care about has the capacity to destroy you.

For example something bad happening to a loved one of yours that you deeply care about can cause you much personal damage and lead to your wanting to be dead. 

Caring too much about truth, factual and philosophical, also has it heavy price tag as it can lead to madness, unhappiness, isolation, anger, persecution and all kinds of neurosis. 

Caring too much about your professional career can also come at a heavy price if it leads you to neglect other facets of your personal life. 

And most people have experienced the most unpleasant and difficult phenomenon of caring deeply for someone who didn't care for them in return. 

When something or someone I've cared (too) much about comes to bite me back in the arse I sometimes wish I was a psychopath, devoid of caring emotions and therefore the pain and hurt these can lead to. 

Yet other times I believe that all the pain is worth it and that I'd rather have care and emotions, even if these can lead to suffering, than be a heartless piece of garbage. 

For without care and the positive emotions it can bring, genuine joy at life and people would likely never manifest and one would amount to what T.S. Eliot termed a 'hollow man'. 

Without care, all goodness in the world would disappear and in fact the world itself would end. 

For world always means spiritual world. Only the earth would remain, albeit possibly in a devastated fashion - a wasteland if you will.

And it was Nietzsche who said
"The wasteland is growing. Woe to him harbours wastelands!" 
This 'him' is of course the superman, the one who must inhabit the darkness (i.e. the wasteland) in order to reach to the light (i.e. the oasis). 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Thought 393: Life's Too Long

People often say life's too short to be pissed off all the time, to be uptight, to sweat over the small stuff, to do what one doesn't love doing etc. 

My view, however, is that life's too long for such things because if life were short then being uptight, neurotic and unhappy would be of little consequence, as you would die before suffering the consequences. 

It's because life is long that one needs to be relaxed and in tune with one's inner being since otherwise life would be one almost-never-ending journey of personal hell. 

Monday, 21 November 2016

Thought 392: Am I Crazy?

It's likely that many who read my blog posts think I'm crazy and, to be perfectly honest, if I had not read the books that I have read, listened to the podcasts I have listened to or watched the videos I have watched, I too would think I was crazy.

For truth is stranger than fiction. 

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Thought 391: Men & Women as Weird Creatures

Many heterosexual men who've been in relationships with women will take the view that women are 'weird creatures' and that they can't live with them or without them.

In turn many heterosexual women who've had relationships with men will take the view that men too are 'weird creatures' and that they can't live with them or without them. 

But it is also possible that someone who's been in relationships with men and women would take the view that both genders are weird.

In addition gay men may find men to be weird creatures and gay women women to be weird creatures.

It would seem that it all depends on who you have relationships with since it is through relationships, and the emotional interpersonal neurosis that usually comes with them, that you see people in all their weirdness, heterosexual people thereby assuming it has something to do with someone's sex rather than it being generally true of everyone.

My contention, you will have guessed, is that both men and women are weird creatures because humans are weird.  

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Thought 390: Know Thyself - My Example

As long time readers of my blog will know, if such readers exist, one of the first things I ever wrote was the famous Delphic injunction 'know thyself' in my philosophical dialogue Lathoron.
Spie: And what is your point exactly?
Rom: That talk about objective truth necessarily implies a subjective truth, only "subjective truth" pertains to the subject.
Spie: That would be us as human beings no doubt.
Rom: Precisely. As the ancient statement testifies: "know thyself."
This entire blog, whether in its writings or works, is simply a long drawn-out application of that injunction. 

Indeed knowing myself was evidently a task of long duration and still ongoing, seeing that that dialogue was written in 2006 and that we are now in 2016. 

While much internet literature purports a certain objectivity and matter of factness in its communications, ScruffyOwlet's Tree was designed with the belief that the path to authentic knowledge starts with putting oneself in question and mastering one's inner kingdom so as to critically evaluate information in a way that is in keeping with one's being. 

For communing with one's being is just another way of gaining access to what is, truth, since I know that I am rather than not and that I, Thomas Romer, am a part of all that is, which, again, is truth. 

It is arguably only by knowing oneself that one will unlearn the influence of external and conventional mind control and thereby arrive at judgements and conclusions that are less pre-determined by what society tells us to think on a daily basis. 

As the Delphic oracle knew so well, how can one expect to gain knowledge of the secrets of the universe and the gods when not even in touch with and aware of one's inner house?

So while my lack of pretend objectivity might make my writings too niche and particular to reach a wide audience in the short term, perhaps they will carry more weight in time since genuinely stemming from my inner source as a human being; and humans are all connected at root, despite variation in sensibility and preference, to the primal source of Being since without Being there would be no beings including human beings. 

And Being needs the human being if only to be given word to. It follows that by self-examination one will ipso facto give heed to that which is the ultimate source of our existence and possibly become more in being than individuals who are closed off from their link with Being and all that is and therefore from truth, if defined as that which is.  

Friday, 18 November 2016

Thought 389: On Being Well

My father once said something useful which is that being well does not mean never getting unwell but recovering quickly and promptly when one is unwell. 

In the case of mental health, for example, being well does not mean never feeling down or never falling prey to some mild form of neurosis but signals rather the ability to recover swiftly and completely from the blip and this on a consistent and repeated basis. 

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Thought 388: Mental Immunity

While many are aware of physical immunity that comes with a good diet, quality sleep and regular exercise, closely linked but not identical is mental immunity.

In an old post Depression I linked depression to a psychological version of the immune system destroying disease that is Aids (the post is now called Depression as the AIDS of Mental Health). 

For when depressed the slightest hiccup, the slightest toxicity in communication and information, in interaction and exchange, can tip one into a suicidal trance. 

It was from my battling depression along with anxiety that made me think in terms of mental immunity, i.e. keeping one's thoughts in such good order as to be less prone to being brought crashing down by negative happenings, internal and external. 

Three things most of all helped me overcome the worst of depressed symptoms and they are all linked:
  1. Relaxing
  2. Practising self-compassion as opposed to self-bullying
  3. Loving myself as opposed to loathing myself
As I've written before, negative self-talk causes stress in the mind-body complex and can exacerbate if not cause depressed states. 

This is why obsessional perfectionists often fall prey to depressive illness as their endless and repeated self-criticism in failing to achieve what they consider to be adequate work causes stress chemicals to flood their bodies in what is commonly referred to as 'fight or flight' mode, even though there is no objective reason to fight or to flee. 

When it comes to low self-esteem and particularly the issue of self-loathing, these often stem from puritanical drives to constantly be doing and producing, and be everything to everyone, as though one is only allowed to love oneself when earning X salary, being in Y job and having achieved Z external recognition. 

[As Mark Passio rightly notes, self-loathing also stems from a past trauma that has been buried into the subconscious mind and not consciously addressed let alone resolved.]

People who feel they need to accomplish a lot each day in order to be okay with themselves are of course more vulnerable to depression than others who are content with themselves no matter how little they have achieved and how conventionally unsuccessful they are regarded as being. 

It follows that true mental immunity comes from a variety of factors including unconditional self-acceptance, quieting one's self-criticism, relaxing (prolonged nervous tension can be fatal for mental health - see post Nervous Tension) but also harder to grasp principles such as 
  • learning the truth about the world (i.e. unlearning mass mind control methodologies which can be toxic for psychological well-being)
  • learning the truth about oneself (i.e. communing with one's inner temple and drawing the lessons you need to draw as to your person - self-respect in other words - see post Self-Love and Self-Respect)
  • learning the truth about others (i.e. understanding the differences that lie between you and other people, the level of mind control they're under, their level of morality, whether they are friend material or not, whether you should engage with them or not, whether you can learn from them or not)
  • realising what is and what is not in your control (politics and the thoughts, emotions and actions of others are largely out of our individual control)
  • aligning one's actions and emotions with one's thoughts (i.e. unity consciousness which gives rise to genuine free will - see post Free Will as Acquired), 
  • engaging in creative industry and expression (which is a great way to feel accomplished and discover one's artistic soul)
  • understanding and complying with Natural Law (i.e. realising that actions have consequences and that there are laws of nature, including moral ones, we are bound by and which are in operation at all times)
  • understanding that consciousness is a part of nature that the brain taps into rather than originating solely from the brain organ 
  • unlearning dogma, of a scientific or religious kind
  • learning about evil and therefore unlearning moral relativism (which is part of understanding Natural Law)
  • prioritising what gives one energy and positive fulfilment and reducing or avoiding thoughts & activities that emotionally deplete one or make one depressed
  • opening one's heart and crown chakras 
  • critically evaluating one's relationship with family members, partners or close friends (see Parents as People). 
  • realising that the personal things people say about you is usually a reflection of their own way of thinking and value system
  • not being overly compassionate or moved by the suffering of others (see post Self-Punishment is not Enlightenment)
  • not giving a fuck about social expectation or what people think of you
  • seeing Being as your womb and your home
  • giving up on pride or ego identification
  • admitting you have been wrong and will be wrong in the future
  • accepting that perfection is not humanly possible
  • learning the lessons given by your past
  • living in the present moment (i.e. being engaged in the now whilst being aware of the whole)
  • not feeling beholden to other people (i.e. either putting them on pedestals or comparing yourself unfavourably to them)
  • choosing love over fear (love being the force that expands consciousness and fear being the force that shuts consciousness down).
  • re-evaluating one's habits and routines and deciding whether they are good or bad for one
  • accepting that you cannot please everyone
  • carefully monitoring the content of your thoughts, the things you choose to pay attention to, the desires you wish to cultivate, the people you spend time with, the information you choose to take on board
  • making one's peace with one's past so as to be able to embrace the present
and there are many other elements besides.

All this to say that while many researchers extol the benefits of exercise and diet for conditions like depression those are only at the periphery of the actual mental and emotional labours that have to be done in order to boost one's mental immune system so as to be in a position to deal with life's many challenges. 

And as I've said before it is most arduous to care for others if you yourself are in need of care. This is why enlightenment involves care for the self as well as for others, but care for the self needs come first since not caring for oneself can only lead to poor quality in the care you give others.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Thought 386: Money is not Love

Money (unfortunately) has its uses, very few will disagree, but remember: it is no substitute for love and does not care for you or anybody else for that matter. 

Monday, 14 November 2016

Thought 385: I Love Generalisations

I love sweeping generalisations but this too of course is a sweeping generalisation. 

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Thought 384: Society as Shit Fest - My Anti-Conformity

Casual readers of my thoughts will know by now that I largely see what is called society as a satanic shit fest of need and greed. 

In my opinion people become moral and enlightened in spite of society and its phoney values rather than because of it and them. 

Many may be uncomfortable with my sweeping generalisations and feel hostile towards my anti-conformist positioning on so many issues, including the burning issues of monetary currency and employment routines (e.g. Employment Bullshit - My Economic Ideal), and will seek to point out the many hypocrisies in my philosophising, especially since the latter is made possible by my essentially being an 'economic parasite' - i.e. a welfare claimant - to use a social darwinist phrasing. 

These people are in fact right in detecting hypocrisies in my work but I do not think being completely free from the charge of hypocrisy is humanly possible and the desire for extreme consistency on all fronts can lead to negative outcomes, especially where political action is concerned.

See my blog post The Dangerous Quest for Political Consistency for more elaboration on this last point. 

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Thought 383: Madness as Coping Mechanism

"[There] is always some reason in madness." - Nietzsche 
This will sound strange to prosaic and psychiatric minds but madness is essentially a coping mechanism when intolerable emotions, thoughts and traumatic baggage are present in one's subconscious and conscious selves and have not been properly addressed and attended to with care, knowledge and will. 

The mind-body complex goes 'mad' - e.g. psychotic or manic - to get release from the buried trauma and confusion and while psychiatrists are concerned only with the manifestation of mood and behavioural disorder (rather than the traumatic cause), medicating it to hell in order to control it, what is really needed is time and a measure of sensitive guidance and care to process the buried confusions and traumas and begin the healing process.  

Psychotherapists can help along this path but the only person who can do so with any lasting effect is the person who went mad in the first place who has to learn to unmake the crap present in their psychology in order to gain a unified consciousness, free of inner turmoil and self-contempt. 

The problem is one is least able to do this when 'mad' which is why time is needed, time and attention being the operative spiritual currencies in the world, as it takes time and the attention it enables to heal one's psyche and buried traumas after the 'mad' symptoms have somewhat subsided and have become behaviourally dormant. 

In other words, mental health problems can be usefully seen as divine if most unpleasant messengers sent to us in order to learn to be ourselves and acquire a unified consciousness, for nature is most unforgiving to those who are internally and externally divided - which is arguably why psychopathic controllers who are unified in spirit and purpose are so successful in fucking up the human condition (see post Why Dark Actions Prevail)

Friday, 11 November 2016

Thought 382: Evaluating Mediated Information

Of course this applies to the mainstream as well as much of the so-called alternative media like Info Wars and Veterans Today. 

One, but not the only, primordial question remains whether the mediated information comforts the established order, e.g by concealing or promoting it, or harms it, e.g. by questioning its motives and deeds or pointing out its immorality.
"Journalism is printing something someone else doesn't want printed; everything else is public relations."
Critical evaluation of information is paramount if it is to become knowledge and the evaluation must be done with diligence and with reference to different and often competing sources.  For
"entertaining an idea without im-media-tely accepting (or rejecting) it is the mark of an educated mind."

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Thought 381: The Good Suffer

Good people, that is to say, moral people often suffer, not only at the hands of human predators, but also at the hands of our disjointed collective reality, as they seek to understand and make right the Hell that we are in. 

It is a hard fact of life that evil scum who harm others in their quest for egoic fulfilment might be perfectly content and free from neurosis and suffering whilst moral people who do care about truth and morality will fall prey to such god-awful conditions as depression, anxiety, mania, psychosis, self-loathing and so on.

Not only that but people will often look down on you and turn on you if you happen to be vulnerable and in a bad emotional and mental state, even though you have done nothing wrong. 

It's like those psychopathically superficial American radio shows which pour scorn on an unemployed caller but talk to an ex-con murderer as a regular guy and one of the gang.

Moreover it is almost never the perpetrators of abuse and harm that suffer from the consequences of their actions as opposed to the victims of that harm who will internalise the abuse and become unwell and unhappy. 

These phenomena according to which the immoral thrive and the moral suffer, despite alleged Natural Law principles, is perhaps the biggest flaw in Mark Passio's thinking, in so far as he fails to take into account the fact that being moral, i.e. caring about the state of the world and one's fellow human beings, does in fact lead to suffering and neurosis whilst immoral, predatory behaviour arguably leads to contentment and success. 

ScruffyOwlet's Tree is a blog created with good people in mind who may have suffered at the hands of others and our culture (not to mention from themselves) so that they may be less confused in their apprehending the state of the world and consequently less confused in their own being and may become at peace realising that they are not at fault for what wicked wolves and silly sheep are doing to our collective manifested reality. 

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Thought 380: Nervous Tension

I have written before on the demon that is neurosis, commonly referred to as mental health problems, seeing it as the number one enemy facing humanity today (Time to Conclude: Neurosis as Number One Enemy). 

Poor mental health is a largely still little understood phenomenon tied in with human suffering and the pressures of modern civilisation. 

One thing that I can say, however, as a past sufferer of a large host of mental health difficulties - including mania and depression - is that nervous tension is most detrimental to healthy psychology. 

It's a lesson I learnt relatively late that tension - the opposite of relaxation - leads to disorder. This lesson was handed me most effectively by my playing piano as I realised that psychological and physiological tension in performing pieces created no end of mistakes and inaccuracies, not to say choppiness as opposed to fluidity.

This is why the popular philosophy of 'not giving a fuck' is arguably very helpful in so far as caring too much about the wrong things, such as things which are not in your control, or that have to do with artificial societal expectations and constraints or internal insecurities and self-doubt (e.g. the fear of making mistakes) can lead to nervous tension and therefore neurosis.

It seems to me that our civilisation is in many of its aspects designed to create neurosis, what with examinations, job applications and interviews, performance evaluations, bills, money worries, being at close quarters with the public and colleagues in jobs, toxic media, toxic people in power, immoral values peddled hourly by the wicked and mind controlled, employment commitments, commercial predation, bullying, false intellectualist values, positive fascism, endless technological contrivance, our abandonment of Mother Nature and so on. 

These are realities that very few parents help guide their children with, since themselves under the influence of mind control methodologies and not in tune largely with their true selves and natural law. 

In any case it is because so much of our present condition is unhealthy and designed to ruin people both emotionally and financially that one has to work even harder to be un-phased by all the toxic rubbish of modern life and modern people and learn to take care of oneself - body and mind, though especially mind - which is to say, to learn how to relax (by not giving a fuck, including of what people think of you) so as not to fall prey to nervous tension and its dire consequences for the psyche. 

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Thought 379: My Thinking Brand

I would describe my brew of philosophising as:
  • moralist
  • consequentialist
  • conspiracist
  • de-occultist
  • psychologist
  • platonist
  • anarchist
  • artist
  • etymologist
  • formalist
  • intuitionist
  • interventionist
  • simplist

Monday, 7 November 2016

Thought 378: The Meaning of Competition

Competition is formed from the Latin prefix cum, together/with and the Latin verb petitio, to petition, to request. 

Thus competition means to request together, and since only, say, one request can be granted - e.g. if there is only one job vacancy - then all the other requests will have to be rejected or ignored. 

Competition thus entails all fighting for scraps from the master's table, since all those deprived request together more or less at the same time, only few however having their request satisfied in the end due to the (artificial) scarcity of resources and jobbing positions. 

In the TV show The Apprentice, hapless candidates seek to prove themselves against the others whilst collaborating in teams but only one request for the so-called 'top job' will be met by the end of the show with the result that all the other requests for the top job, so to speak, will be rejected and denied. 

Com-petition in our current paradigm also translates in many requests at the same time for our attention and our wallets as consumers and individuals, for the purposes of money-making, political electioneering and ego massaging. 

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Thought 377: Why Pubs Aren't My Scene

Public Houses aren't normally my scene. Although when quiet and when in good company they can be pleasant enough this blog post was written to showcase my general unease around pub culture.

Indeed, working in one less than a decade ago caused me much unhappiness and ill feeling, compounding the so-called mental health difficulties that I was experiencing at the time. 

The reasons for my avoiding this well-entrenched British (and English-speaking) institution are manifold:
  1. I dislike large groups.
  2. I dislike the din and noise that comes with said groups.
  3. I dislike getting drunk and even the mere feeling of being slightly drunk.
  4. I dislike drunken and rowdy behaviour, especially given the fact that drunk people seem to lose all sense of psychological and physical boundaries.
  5. I dislike overhearing conversations revolving around the humdrum and, for me, depressing worlds of workaday living, money, sports, consumer objects, political cliché and local gossip.
  6. I dislike being in the presence of and having to witness the lusty instincts of pub-goers, both male and female.
  7. I dislike the fact that the fuel for exchange in pubs is based on the materiality of alcoholic beverages rather than the spirituality of philosophical yearning. Platonic style symposia, even with drink in plenty, would be far more to my liking (excepting of course homoerotic involvements). 
  8. I dislike the general public, especially that part of it which is drawn to fulfilling itself through binge-drinking and imitative group-think.
  9. I dislike the smell of most pubs.
  10. I dislike the many pubs with TV screens blaring their low consciousness, thoughtless and manipulative rubbish.
  11. If a pub has music there is more than a chance I'll dislike the choice of music and I am sensitive to musical communication.
  12. I dislike having to spend money on drink which I have to consume in an environment where I cannot hear myself think.
  13. I dislike witnessing people being sick.
  14. Watching the bar workers slaving away for the benefit of the paying public brings back bad memories of myself being an unhappy bar worker who was not in his element.
  15. I dislike being witness to verbal or physical aggression that often arise in pub environments.
  16. I dislike materialist escapism which draws and thrives on animalistic instincts. 
Of course none of the points above will come as a surprise to those who view me an unemployed pussy philosopher but, as Nietzsche himself knew,
"Freedom comes when that part of yourself you least liked becomes the part of yourself you most like."
I cannot help it if my own methods of escapism do not involve hitting the town and getting drunk but instead entails reaching for and grasping dainty butterflies in the sky of ideas.

While drinking alcohol and having a conventional idea of fun may be the closest thing many people have to the nourishment of philosophising, I myself plan to commune with my spirit in a straightforward and quiet way, using the company of like-minded life companions, authors, artists and composers to guide me along my path to spiritual ecstasy.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Thought 376: Favourite Writers

What they say about music - that dead musicians outshine the living - could be applied to literature, i.e. that which has been written down and preserved. 

While dead composers such as J.S. Bach in my view will never be surpassed, offering a bottomless well of creative inspiration and influence, the same could be said of writers such as Homer, Plato and Shakespeare. 

Homer is my go-to poet - I have read the Iliad a good five times at least - and I delight in Plato's dialectical prose which shines in its Greek, child-like simplicity, whilst grappling with complex questions. 

I have struggled more with appreciating Shakespeare, not being comfortable with reading theatre scripts, partly because theatre is not an art form that I enjoy, and generally preferring the pre-Christian Greek to the late Middle-Age English poetic spirit. 

Some day maybe.  

Friday, 4 November 2016

Review 9: Friedrich Gulda's (Second) Beethoven Cycle

Gulda does it again!, Review of Friedrich Gulda's recording of Beethoven's piano sonatas.

Friedrich Gulda's recording of the so-called Old Testament of classical keyboard in the shape of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier almost instantly became my definitive interpretation of the preludes and fugues contained therein, short of recording them all myself. 

Having never until now found a satisfactory Beethoven piano cycle I naturally looked to Gulda's recording, despite it not being available for digital download, once I was made aware of its existence - which was no mean feat. 

To be succinct I will say that just as Gulda mesmerised me with his Old Testament rendering so his performance of the New Testament in the shape of Beethoven's piano sonatas is now my go-to favourite. 

I have explored interpretations of these sonatas for many years, owning the cycles by Artur Schnabel, Wilhelm Kempff (mono and stereo), Maurizio Pollini, Richard Goode, Alfred Brendel (second cycle) as well as odd sonatas played by Glenn Gould and Rudolf Serkin.

None of the above was I truly happy with for the reason that many of the lesser known sonatas made me feel bored and I was often in disagreement with the way the greater sonatas were played. 

Moreover, the quality over the entire cycle either wavered (Pollini and Goode) or failed to captivate (Brendel and Kempff) and listening to the whole corpus was, in the case of these aforementioned interpreters, more of a chore than a pleasure (the sound quality of the Schnabel is too poor for me to have explored his take in any depth). 

Not anymore. Gulda's fiery, immediate, un-belaboured, non-deferential, un-romantic, quick-witted approach to these piano monuments has made them all a pleasure to listen to, almost without exception, and his performance of the named sonatas is also much to my liking, e.g. the first movement of the Waldstein. 

Gulda was called a 'terrorist pianist' for a reason in so far as he was keyboard maverick with little time for the ostentation and preciousness (not to say pretentiousness) of the classical music world, openly preferring jazz in some cases and having the decency to also compose which is not the case of many pianists schooled in the classical tradition. 

In my opinion these elements of his pianistic temperament are perfect for Beethoven, a keen improviser himself with little time for common public perception, and, unlike the ponderous Kempff or the uneven Goode, Gulda makes these works exciting and arguably as fresh as when they were first conceived - quite an achievement given how familiar I am with all of them. 

Now I am aware that this is a matter of taste as I doubt Gulda will be to everyone's liking but it is a joy in my case to finally find a pianist who corresponds largely with my musical sensibility and has managed to deliver the goods in the case of giants Bach and Beethoven (his Mozart is certainly not one I'm very fond of, however). 

I have not taken the trouble to listen to the concertos included in this box set as they were not the reason I purchased it but rest assured that the piano solo works covering the first nine discs are brilliantly done justice, if of a vigorous and un-reverential kind. 

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Thought 375: The Long Road to Mental Health

While pharmaceutical substances are erroneously believed to be a quick fix for poor mental health, treating as they claim to do symptoms rather than causes, there is only one path to great mental health which is coming to terms with yourself (including what you don't like about yourself and negative personal history) and the world as it is

My philosophy of always choosing love over fear essentially means being aware and perhaps having experienced the polarity of fear which is behind a great many mental health difficulties - fear amounting to stress in the mind-body complex, blood flowing away from higher brain functions and the torso-stomach to the extremities (fight or flight mode) - but wilfully choosing consciousness expansion (the force of love) in full awareness of the world's darkest sides. 
"To look into the sickness of the world and one's fellow human beings is a terrible undertaking, but those who do will become well."
It is truth and the freedom that comes with truth, that which is, Heidegger having defined freedom as being able to 'let beings be', that ensures the overcoming of neurosis.
"You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free."
If you manage to make peace with yourself and others, i.e. let yourself and others be as well as act as you think and feel, no longer being in a state of internal division, you will allow yourself to be relaxed, in touch with the whole whilst being engaged in the now, and, as I've said before, if neurosis is the enemy, relaxation is the remedy (see Relaxation as Remedy, Means and Goal).